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Just browsing, looking for something in the “C’s.” What I was looking for was not there, but here was something by Kate Christensen I hadn’t read. Hadn’t read anything by her in a long time. Good idea.

Ten pages in, knew there was a problem. Checked it out. My brain had registered Kate Christensen for Kate Atkinson, who is one of my favorites. A sad thing, the aging brain.

Not that The Great Man is a bad book. It had a right to be published. But it’s certainly not my kind of book. Oscar Feldman, famous artist and infamous cocksman dies. Five years later, two authors are separately commissioned to write biographies. In the course of intervie


wing wife, mistress, sister, children, friends, secrets are removed, secret are uncovered, new relationships begun. But Oscar is still at the center of all this. Why would four or five women still after five years orient their existence around a philanderer like Oscar? Well, that’s the center of the book. Like Netherland (July 29, 2010), it’s one of those voice- or character-driven works that leave me wishing for something to actually happen besides swimming in circles of conversation and thought that are, I suppose, intended to provide insight but instead provide stasis.

I will say there’s more septuagenarian sex here than in any other book I’ve read. But even that didn’t quite save it for me. Nor did the awkward and mostly unnecessary epilogue. I’m off to find another Kate–this time the right one.

Sitting up

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